Swanson: Report claiming misuse of staff "dirty pool"

AG says any campaign work staffers do is volunteer and on their own time

Adam Carter
August 08, 2018 - 4:14 pm

Jimmy Erickson/WCCO Radio

Minnesota Attorney General and candidate for governor Lori Swanson is denying claims in a published report that her state staffers were rewarded for working on her campaigns with raises and promotions.

A report in The Intercept says Swanson pressured government employees to work for her campaign, and in return, rewarded some of those employees with career advancement and pay increases.

Swanson addressed The Intercept report Wednesday at Farmfest, where she participated in a WCCO Radio gubernatorial forum with the other four major candidates for governor.

"Nobody has ever engaged in political activity while working on government time. Anything they do volunteer-wise is on their own time, and on their own clock. And in addition to that, certainly promotions or salary increases are based purely on merit and what people's job descriptions are. It has zero impact whether or not they participate in politics. That's their choice."

Swanson says she's suspicious about the motives behind the story.

"It's dirty pool, you know, a week before a primary election campaign," Swanson said. "The Intercept is run by a billionaire who has financial ties and is a business partner to a couple of other billionaires who own companies that I took on as Attorney General."

She's referring to First Look Media, which owns The Intercept, which Swanson says has ties to Accretive Health and the National Arbitration Forum, two companies her office has filed lawsuits against.

Meanwhile, the reporter who wrote the story says she may have more coming soon.

“I'm very confident my sources and I'm very confident that there is a lot more that's going to be coming out,” The Intercept's Rachel Cohen told WCCO Radio host Chad Hartman on Tuesday.